The Siberian Husky was originally bred in Siberia, by the Chukchi people of the region, to herd animals such as reindeer, perform as watchdogs, and ultimately to pull sleds across the frozen ground. Huskies are bred to be working dogs, and with their fur coats they were well-adapted to the harsh Siberian climate. According to Roger Weldon, DVM, Huskies first were brought to Alaska in the early 1900s because of their stamina and enjoyment of hard work. The Husky was bred for the harsh, cold habitats of Siberia.
The natural habitat of a Siberian Husky is a cold, northern climate such as the Siberian Tundra or the wilds of Alaska. Bred by the Chukchi people to survive the climate, the Husky has a thick double coat to withstand harsh storms and the nearly constant night of the region. While another working breed might freeze to death in this climate, the Husky thrives, and if it can’t get indoors when resting, will create a burrow underneath the snow.
Huskies were bred not only for a harsh habitat, but also with a high activity level. The breed enjoys work and does not thrive in a small apartment. During the Alaskan diptheria epidemic in 1925, fur traders used the husky to pull sleds that helped transport medical supplies to the ailing population of Nome, Alaska. Huskies are bred to prefer a habitat where they get several hours of activity, preferably strenuous.
Huskies have been bred to work in packs. When used as sled dogs, for example, the Huskies will gather together both at work and at rest. They are social dogs, and if they don’t have other dogs around, will treat human owners as pack members. Huskies are not suited for being alone and may develop behavioral problems without companionship. Within the pack, whether it be made of other dogs or people, Huskies are affectionate and playful.
Because of their playful natures, Huskies have become popular in habitats other than Alaska and Siberia and now can be found in warmer climates. They adapt well, although they easily can overheat due to their double coats, so owners must be aware of this tendency and prevent it. The Husky needs very strong leadership from its owner, or it may be difficult to housebreak and become willful, refusing to obey commands and running away if off-leash. The modern Husky habitat should include a lot of activity and a family, including a strong leader, that will provide the dog with its pack.